Posted by: George | May 4, 2010

The Car

May 3, 2010

For his trip, Steinbeck ordered “a three-quarter-ton pick-up truck, capable of going anywhere under possibly rigorous conditions.” On the truck, he asked that “a little house be built like the cabin of a small boat.” He named his traveling home Rocinante, after Don Quixote’s horse.

For similar trip across America, William Least Heat Moon drove a van with a bed in the back. He called his truck Ghost Dance. On the pages of Blue Highways, he included a cut-away drawing of Ghost Dance to show how he had carefully arranged his bedroom on wheels.

On my trip, I will be driving my 2002 Montero Sport (pictured above). Compared to Steinbeck’s truck or Least Heat Moon’s van, it’s uninspiring. My wife bought this SUV, which doesn’t even have four-wheel drive, when on a trip to Nashville because the car she was driving had a blown transmission. The Montero has been fairly reliable, except for a series of electrical shorts. This problem was solved once I had the driverside airbag disconnected. Since then, the brake light and the airbag light are constantly illuminated. This problem was solved once I covered the annoying lights with black tape. I find both solutions elegant; Freud might have considered them pathological. After all, the problems were not so much fixed as they were repressed.

I will be taking my bike with me. I will probably haul the camping equipment in a luggage rack (a Thule Rocket Box, not included in the picture), locked onto my roof racks.

In case you are wondering what’s written on my t-shirt, it’s “Rhet Against the Machine.” I’m a rhetorician by profession. Rhetoricians think this t-shirt is hilarious; everyone else finds it puzzling.

So, here’s a question for anyone who might be reading the blog this early: Should I name my car?

If you’d like to suggest a name, send it in a comment. Entries need to be in June 15, 2010. I will be the sole judge. The winner will receive an autographed copy of my recent publication: Some of the Words Are Theirs: A Memoir of an Alcoholic Family.



  1. George,

    You could name your car “Charley.” Just a thought.



  2. Kathy is the winner (well, the only entry, but the winner nonetheless). I will name my car “Charley.” This way, even though I am not traveling with a dog, I can say I am traveling with Charley (or in Charley, to be more precise).


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